My library recently updated our policy for patrons replacing lost or damaged items.
The problem that arose is that patrons would check out a book (say, a non-fiction book that was five years old, with a price in the record of $30) - then they'd lose it, and eventually they'd get a bill for $30. Our previous policy said patrons could replace lost/damaged items either by paying for it or by supplying another copy of the book.
This meant that, instead of paying the $30, patrons would often find used copies of the item online, for just a few dollars, and give that to us as a replacement copy.
The problem was that often these books were in terrible condition (sometimes even discarded from another library, with their stamps and stickers still on it). Not to mention that there would often be newer versions of this item available, which we would want to get instead of the old outdated one.
So, we updated our policy to be:
Lost/Damaged item fees
NO REPLACEMENTS ACCEPTED FOR BOOKS
Book or magazine - patron is charged 100% of the full price
DVD, music CD, or videogame - replacement allowed only if it is new and still sealed in the original package, otherwise the charge is the same as books, 100% of full price.
Book on CD - $10 per CD (if the entire item is lost, then 100% of full price.)
Playaway, CD-ROM, kit - 100% of full price
Lost CD or DVD insert - $2
Lost CD or DVD case - $2 (so lost case & insert is $4)
Still not sure what to charge? Call tech svcs
What to say when patrons ask...
Why can’t the library accept replacements for lost or damaged books anymore?
There are several reasons:
Many of the replacements we’ve been getting are used items in poor condition.
Replacing the exact same isbn can mean getting an old edition of a book when a newer edition is available.
In some cases, we don’t wish to replace the lost item, and would rather use the fee to buy something new that we need for our collection now.
Why does a replacement DVD, music CD or videogame have to be new & still sealed in the package?
For similar reasons – we’ve received old and/or used items to replace things we wouldn’t have bothered to replace at all.
Why is the replacement cost 100% of the full price? I can get it for less than that on Amazon!
True, but sometimes the items you get from Amazon are old and used, and you might not even realize it till it arrives.
Also keep in mind that when we replace a book or other item, it involves staff time to get the new item, catalog it, and process it to go into circulation.
This all happened a couple months ago. Then just a couple weeks ago, we received the following note from a patron:
My favorite part is that she drew a picture of an open book on her note. Since the replacement copy she supplied was a brand new copy, and this title is still on the school's summer reading list, we just kept it.
A couple weeks ago, my library received the latest shipment of free Scientology books, and I'm guessing your library did too. On the whole, we never want these books, and rarely do they make it to our shelves (or even out of the boxes they came in).
So I was happy to see a post on the Maine Libraries listserv the following week (from Mamie Anthoine Ney of the Southern Maine Library District) detailing an email exchange she had with the company that sends them out. She asked them to stop sending them to her site, and this is the response she received:
Dear Ms Ney,
Thank you for message alerting me to this situation.
I have taken your address off the mailing list.
If you have not been able to send the books back yet, let me know the correct address, contact name and number and I can have my shipping department get FedEx to pick them up.
The books are very valuable and I do not want them to go to waste.
I will pick these up right away if you have not been able to arrange this.
Mr. Larry Perras
Library Distribution Manager
5600 E. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90022
Mr. Perras' email is address is email@example.com and he is the person to contact if you'd like your library to stop getting these boxes of books. I forwarded this to my library's Head of Technical Services, and she was only too happy to email them to take us off the list (although we never got a reply from them).
Thank you Mamie for sharing this information - hopefully it will keep more of these books from ending up in dumpsters.
Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) award winning author/ illustrator William Joyce and Co-director Brandon Oldenburg present a new narrative experience that harkens back to silent films and M-G-M Technicolor musicals. “Morris Lessmore” is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.
The only criticism I could make is this: scotch tape?!?!
My sister-in-law takes my niece to their library frequently, and last week she texted me this photo:
This is in the Sandusky (OH) Library (where I grew up), and I think it's great. Slightly less massive than this one, and it makes me wonder if the staff marked all those volumes as "Display" in their catalog.
Anyway, this also serves as my annual "don't expect to hear from me for awhile" Christmas post - hopefully when I'm visiting my family in Ohio, I'll be able to stop into the Sandusky Library and check out their tree. Happy Holidays everyone.